Dubious officiating and a late goal to Jamie Maclaren have seen Melbourne City take a barely deserved win against the Western Sydney Wanderers tonight in Parramatta.
A wet and stormy Sydney summer night saw the kick-off delayed by half an hour to accommodate a lightning delay in the Wanderers W-League team's 1-0 win over Newcastle. Keanu Baccus was put on the bench following his international duties in China, and Alex Meier followed in order to make room for the pacy front three of Mitch Duke, Kwame Yeboah & Bruce Kamau. Markus Babbel elected to play a 4231 formation, giving Pirmin Schwegler & Nick Sullivan duties as holding midfielders behind Nico Muller as the attacking midfielder.
The Wanderers opened the scoring in a proverbial blink of an eye. Duke played a rasping cross-field pass for Kamau streaking run down the right side, the recalled winger launched a first-time ball across the penalty area, beating the City cover defence. Yeboah had anticipated well, his far post run gave him a tap-in opportunity from 5 yards out and he couldn't miss to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Melbourne City had their first shot in anger in the 20th minute, Josh Brillante's rocket looked to be heading into the top corner until Daniel Lopar reached out a hand to turn it over the bar with a wonderful fingertip save. Daniel Georgievski benefited from a persistent Kamau turn, laying the ball from the corner in a position the fullback ran onto, shooting a curled left footed strike towards goal that Dean Bouzanis knocked out for a corner. Neither team could add to the scoreline before the half-time break.
Referee Chris Beath, who sent off Markus Babbel in the Sydney Derby last season, then handed Melbourne City a completely undeserved equaliser. He somehow spotted an infringement in the penalty area as a cross sailed over the players heads, replays showed there was absolutely nothing worth a foul let alone the penalty & yellow card, and Jamie Maclaren put away the resulting spot kick. Just another week in the A-League, referees who pick one team to punish with fouls out of thin air, holding grudges and the VAR backing them up despite no evidence to show any foul at all occurred.
Melbourne City used the momentum from the non-existent penalty and took the lead in the 74th minute. Maclaren chased down an aimless clearance, put Dylan McGowan under pressure and came away with the ball. With a lucky deflection on an attempted block Maclaren took the ball back, crossing into the middle of the 6 yard box for another tap-in, this time for Brillante.
The Wanderers began to press for their own equaliser and they had it in the 79th minute. A raid on the right flank saw Georgievski with the ball, he mad an excellent cross for substitute Alex Meier. The towering forward gently knocked a header into the path of Yeboah, who stuck a beautiful side foot volley into the roof of the net. As the 90 minutes ticked over Alex Meier managed to find a shot in a goal-mouth scramble, he strongly kept off two defenders and won a corner off the foot of Bouzanis.
Melbourne City took advantage of the Wanderers pushing forward late to score their 3rd, and the 5th of the game. Lachlan Wales cut back on the right wing for Maclaren who had peeled off his near post run, taking one touch and shooting past Lopar. With no time left the Wanderers couldn't make more than a few desperate attacks and the game finished 3-2 to Melbourne City.
City didn't deserve the win, they arguably barely deserved a draw. The match was completely turned on it's head by Chris Beath and his inept officiating, turned the momentum completely away from the Wanderers who had been untroubled by the visiting team up to that point. Beath has proven once again he holds grudges against certain teams, from the moment he sent off Markus Babbel in the Sydney Derby last season it has been shown he treats us unlike other teams. He has officiated 4 games against the Wanderers under Babbel and they have lost all 4.
The Wanderers face Newcastle Jets on Saturday November 30, kick-off at 7:30PM at the Newcastle Stadium.
Edited by mack